Harrisburg, Pa. -Molly Ashe of Wellington, Fla., and Picobello Choppin PC, owned by Louisburg Farm, raced to the top in the $35,000 Keystone Classic, sponsored by the World Equestrian Center. Ashe had aimed for the speed class all season, so the win made the trip to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, especially meaningful.
"This class was our main focus for "Chops". This was the one that I really wanted him to do well in," said Ashe. "We won the first night in the 1.45m class. I didn't go all out with him then, but I wanted to get him acclimated because I never showed him indoors and then he was amazing again tonight."
The field of 18 horse and rider combinations yielded seven clear rounds on the Bernardo Cabral-designed course. Hayley Waters (USA), going third in the order, had the first clear in 58.96 seconds on Galous, owned by Chuck Waters. Several more riders had faulty rounds until Kelli Cruciotti (USA) went clear on Chamonix H, owned by Serenity Farm, and two seconds faster to finish in a time of 56.83. Francois Lamontagne (CAN) went just a bit faster on Vigo Massuere in 56.72 seconds to take over the lead for about a minute. Ashe followed the Canadian entry and shaved off even more time going clear in a time of 54.06. Beat Mandli (SUI) posed a threat going clear in 55.81 seconds on Dibatsja, owned by Grant Road Partners, LLC for second place.
"I had a plan," said Ashe. "As I was warming up there was only one slow clear so I thought I was going to back off a little bit and then Francois went clear right before me like a flying Ninja, so I thought there goes that plan. I ended up doing six strides from fence one to two instead of seven. He was just so handy that I was able to take off some time there. He's just a quick horse. He's true to the jump, so that makes him even faster because you can take a shot.
"This horse is one of the barn favorites. He's got so much personality, so it's nice to have it all come together for him and turn into such a good horse," said Ashe of the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood. "That's what means the most to me, I am so grateful to his owners, my sponsors and the team behind him. It's nice to win the class for them."
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